Linton Kwesi Johnson's impressive body of work includes stints as reggae poet, political orator, recording artist, and author/journalist. His 1978 reggae album Dread Beat an' Blood is a statement akin to Gil Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. A vocal personality who fights oppression against black youth, the Jamaica-born Johnson always has an important message to share.
On Sunday, 12 November, 2017, Linton Kwesi Johnson delivered a powerful spoken word/poetry performance at Le Guess Who? in one of the main halls on the festival’s closing night. Afterwards, the same stage saw performances by Shabaka & The Ancestors, Sun Ra Arkestra, and Princess Nokia.
We are honored to now share a recording of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s performance, including readings of his acclaimed poems Five Nights of Bleeding, It Noh Funny, Sonny’s Lettah, and Di Great Insohreckshan. In between, Johnson touches on subjects of oppression against black British youth through The Sus Law; becoming a poet; a characterization of his work throughout the decades; and 1981 being one of the most significant years in the history of black experience in Britain.
From the performance:
Captured on Sunday, 12 November 2017, at TivoliVredenburg's Ronda during Le Guess Who? 2017.
Audio recorded and mixed by Marc Broer.
Photography by Jelmer de Haas.
Illustration by Sedat Girgin.
Le Guess Who? recordings
Le Guess Who? has recently made many more of its recordings available online, with the festival’s archive also containing audio and/or video recordings of Aldous Harding, Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band, Makaya McCraven, Minyo Crusaders, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Neneh Cherry, Mount Eerie, and Selda Bağcan.